Isolation and Passion of the Gay Greatest Generation

hide_matthew_griffinHappy Pride from Brooklyn! While we were in Manhattan celebrating yesterday, today’s a quieter day for us. My husband just left for the garden store to pick up a new boxwood bush.  I just put kale from the farmer’s market on the back burner to simmer with some garlic and olive oil while our son takes a nap.

I love these quiet domestic scenes in my own life: entirely everyday and yet hard-fought and centering. These moments are rarely written about in contemporary fiction, especially between gay men.

This is why I’m so glad I discovered Matthew Griffin’s novel Hide at my favorite Three Lives & Company last week. The novel lifts up the long relationship of taxidermist Wendell and World War II vet and factory worker Frank. Staying together required them to live in deep isolation in the woods of North Carolina. They barely spoke to anyone for decades.

My favorite parts of the book center around their domestic life. As Frank gets old and very ill, Wendell pushes to find a cake he can make that will taste good to Frank, whipping up every cake and cookie he knows. In my favorite section of the book, they once dare to go to the grocery store together. They are simultaneously fear being outed and flirt with the power a couple finds when being seen together in  public.

Trigger warning: The novel has a gritty Southern Gothic side. I had to skip a couple of grisly pages. I didn’t have the stomach for it.

There is a certain Pride in  Hide. Frank and Wendell forge a long, contented life together. Still I couldn’t close the book without wondering how they’d feel about marriage equality and the other steps forward (along with some stumbles along the way) over the past decade or so.

If you’re looking for another book about a contented gay couple and their garden and other hobbies, I recommend one of my all time favorites: Our Life In Gardens.

What have you been reading lately?

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